Freeway and expressway revolts

Freeway and expressway revolts

The Freeway Revolts (sometimes expressway revolts) refer to a phenomenon encountered in the United States and Canada and in the 1960s and 1970s, where planned freeway construction in many cities was halted due to widespread public opposition; especially of those whose neighborhoods would be disrupted or displaced by the proposed freeways. Such "revolts" occurred in many U.S. cities, such as New Orleans, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Portland, Seattle, Washington DC, Cleveland, and Baltimore. In many cities, one can find unused highways, abruptly-terminating freeway alignments, and short stretches of freeway in the middle of nowhere, all of which are evidence of larger projects which were never completed.

A similar protest in Toronto, Canada led to the 1971 halt to completion of the Spadina Expressway then under development. In Vancouver, Canada, a freeway project that began with the construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts in Strathcona was stopped by activists and residents; the plan was intended to link an eight-lane freeway from the Transcanada Highway through the East End, destroying much of Chinatown. Before it was stopped, Vancouver's Hogan's Alley neighbourhood was largely demolished. In Montreal, Canada, a protest is mounting towards the proposed Notre-Dame Expressway, an 8-lane entrenched highway that would separate the residential neighborhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve from the St. Lawrence river.

After World War II, there was a major drive to build a freeway network in the United States; including (but not limited to) the Interstate Highway System. Design and construction began in earnest in the 1950s, and many cities (as well as rural areas) were subjected to the bulldozer. However, many of the proposed freeway routes were drawn up without considering local interest; in many cases the construction of the freeway system was considered a regional (or national) issue which trumped local concerns.

Starting in 1956, in San Francisco, when many neighborhood activists became aware of the effect that freeway construction was having on local neighborhoods, effective city opposition to many freeway routes in many cities was raised; this led to the modification or cancellation of many proposed routes. The freeway revolts continued into the 1970s, further enhanced by concern over the energy crisis and rising fuel costs, as well as a growing environmentalist movement. Responding to massive anti-highway protests in Boston in 1970, [] governor Francis Sargent of Massachusetts ordered planning and construction of all planned expressways inside the Route 128 loop highway halted, with the exception of the remaining segments of the Central Artery. However, some proposals for controlled-access freeways have been debated and finalized as a compromise to build them as at-grade expressways.


an Francisco

In San Francisco, California, public opposition to freeways dates to 1955, when the "San Francisco Chronicle" published a mapFact|date=June 2008 of proposed routes. Construction of the elevated Embarcadero Freeway along the downtown waterfront also helped to organize the opposition, articulated by architecture critic Allan Temko, who began writing for the "Chronicle" in 1961. The 1955 San Francisco Trafficways Plan included the following routes that were never completed:

* A portion of the Mission Freeway was built and still exists as the near-freeway portion of San Jose Avenue from Interstate 280 to Randall Street. Northeast of that section, it would have run parallel to Mission Street to meet the Central Freeway above Duboce Avenue.
* The Crosstown Freeway would have run parallel to Bosworth Street and O'Shaughnessy Boulevard (and through Glen Canyon Park) from Interstate 280 to the Western Freeway near 7th Avenue. Most of the right of way for this freeway was cleared but it was never built.
* The Western Freeway would have run north from Interstate 280 along the line of Junipero Serra Boulevard, then tunnelling to 7th Avenue to meet the Crosstown Freeway. It would have then continued north to the southern edge of Golden Gate Park and followed an unspecified route (in the 1951 version, a tunnel under the park and then a depressed routing through the Panhandle) northeast to the eastern end of the Panhandle, continuing east from there between Fell and Oak Streets to meet the Central Freeway.
* A portion of the Park Presidio Freeway was built as and still exists as SR 1 (CA) through the Presidio from the Golden Gate Bridge. South of that section the freeway would have continued, replacing what is now Park Presidio Boulevard, and then tunneled under Golden Gate Park to meet the Western Freeway.
* A portion of the Central Freeway was built and the original section west from the Bayshore Freeway to Mission Street still exists as US 101. The section northwest from Mission to Market Street was reconstructed in 2004. The section north of Market Street to Golden Gate Avenue was demolished and not rebuilt. The remaining distance to the Golden Gate Freeway was never built.
* A portion of the Embarcadero Freeway was built from the Bay Bridge approach to Broadway as Interstate 480. The section north of Broadway to the Golden Gate Freeway was never built. The entire freeway was removed after the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
* Most of the Southern Embarcadero Freeway was built and still exists as part of Interstate 280, but the section from Third Street to the Bay Bridge approach was never built. The section between Sixth and Third Streets was removed after the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
* The Golden Gate Freeway along the northern edge of the city from the Embarcadero Freeway to the Golden Gate Bridge approach was never built.
* The freeway approach from US 101 and Interstate 280 to the Southern Crossing bridge was never built because the bridge was not built.

The 1960 Trafficways Plan deleted several of these routes but added another:

* The Hunters Point Freeway would have run from US 101 south of the city limits on landfill around Candlestick Point and across Hunters Point to meet Interstate 280 near what is now Cesar Chavez Street.

In 1959, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to cancel seven of ten planned freeways, including an extension of the Central Freeway. In 1964, protests against a freeway through the Panhandle and Golden Gate Park led to its cancellation, and in 1966 the Board of Supervisors rejected an extension of the Embarcadero Freeway to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Opposition to the Embarcadero Freeway continued, and in 1985, the Board of Supervisors voted to demolish it. It was closed after 1989's Loma Prieta earthquake and torn down shortly thereafter. The entire portion of the Central Freeway north of Market Street was demolished over the next decade: the top deck in 1996, and the lower deck in 2003. Two other short freeway segments were demolished in the same time period: the Terminal Separator Structure near Rincon Hill and the Embarcadero Freeway, and the stub end of Interstate 280 near Mission Bay. San Francisco was the only major city in the country that lost freeway miles between 1990 and 2005, and one more elevated structure is proposed for demolition and replacement with a boulevard: the Doyle Drive freeway approach to the Golden Gate Bridge that runs through the city's historic Presidio of San Francisco. In every case, the freeways were or are expected to be replaced with surface-level landscaped boulevards, with the former freeway corridors enhanced with extensions of light rail transit.


In Oakland, California, the Richmond Boulevard Freeway would have run along Valdez Street, Richmond Boulevard, Glen Echo Creek, and Moraga Avenue from 20th Street to SR 13. It was approved by Oakland voters in a 1945 bond issue, but was canceled August 16, 1956 when the city of Piedmont was unable to pay for its portion of the route. ["Plans for Freeway to be Dropped," Oakland Tribune, August 17, 1956] In 1949, the Richmond Boulevard Protective Association had protested the route and its planned destruction of their homes. ["Richmond Group Attacks Plan for Extending Freeway," Oakland Tribune, July 5, 1949]

Los Angeles

*The Laurel Canyon Freeway (SR 170) would have been aligned through western Hollywood, the Mid-City West area, and western Inglewood en route to its terminus at the San Diego Freeway (I-405) near Los Angeles International Airport. It was scrapped in the face of community opposition from these districts and its namesake Laurel Canyon. Only the portion traversing the Baldwin Hills was finished, later being designated as La Cienega Boulevard.
*The Beverly Hills Freeway (SR 2) would have run from the Hollywood Freeway (US 101) in southern Hollywood to the San Diego Freeway (I-405) in Westwood along the alignment of Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. It went through several proposed iterations--including a cut-and-cover tunnel--before its mid-1970s abandonment in the face of opposition from residents of Beverly Hills, the Fairfax District, and Hancock Park.
*The Slauson Freeway (SR 90), originally known as the Richard M. Nixon Freeway and intended to run across southern Los Angeles and northern Orange counties between the Pacific Coast Highway (SR 1) and Riverside (SR 91), was truncated as a result of opposition to its construction through South Central Los Angeles. The only portions completed to freeway level are the short Marina Freeway that runs between Marina del Rey and southern Culver City and the Richard M. Nixon Parkway in Yorba Linda.
*The Glendale Freeway (SR 2) terminates roughly 1.5 miles northeast of its intended terminus at the Hollywood Freeway (US 101), due to opposition from residents of Silver Lake.
*The Pacific Coast Freeway (SR 1) would have upgraded the existing Pacific Coast Highway to freeway standards. Opposition by residents of Malibu, Santa Monica, and the coastal cities of the South Bay region led to the project's abandonment. One segment, between Oxnard and the Point Mugu Naval Air Station, was built in the 1960s before the project was abandoned.
*The Redondo Beach Freeway (SR 91) would have linked the Pacific Coast Freeway in Redondo Beach or the San Diego Freeway (I-405) in Torrance to the Long Beach Freeway (I-710). Opposition by Redondo Beach and Torrance led to its truncation to its current terminus at the Harbor Freeway (I-110) in Gardena; the California legislature subsequently renamed it the Gardena Freeway.
*The Century Freeway (I-105), itself the subject of an unsuccessful freeway revolt in Hawthorne, South Central Los Angeles, Lynwood, and Downey that lasted nearly two decades, was truncated at the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) instead of its intended terminus at the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) due to opposition from the city of Norwalk. One of the compromises allowing the freeway to be built caused the inclusion of a mass transit line in the freeway median. This is the LACMTA Green Line, which opened with the freeway in 1995.
*The Long Beach Freeway (I-710) was originally intended to go from the port complex all the way north to Pasadena, linking up with the Ventura and Foothill Freeways (SR 134 & I-210), completing a bypass of Downtown Los Angeles to the east. The freeway was completed to just past I-10 in Alhambra, and a half-mile stub was built in Pasadena (still unsigned, but officially SR 710). Opposition came from the small city of South Pasadena which would have been cut in half, impacting its small but lively downtown. A six mile gap currently exists and Caltrans is still attempting to build some sort of link, the latest idea of which has been a pair of tunnels.
**Opposition to the building of the 710 extension through South Pasadena has, for some 30 years, resulted in the suspension of plans to build an extension from the 210 freeway through West Pasadena and South Pasadena. The ramps exist and a stub is in place at California Avenue, but much of the land taken for the freeway has been resold by Caltrans to private parties. In 2006, the idea of completing the freeway by means of an underground tunnel was first proposed. This idea is currently under a funded study by the LACMTA.
**A proposed rehabilitation and widening of the aged Long Beach Freeway (I-710) between the Pomona (SR 60) and San Diego (I-405) freeways, which would have removed over 2000 residences in five cities and one unincorporated area, generated such opposition that Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) abandoned it within days of its unveiling in 2004. Caltrans and MTA have issued a new plan that would use MTA-owned utility right-of-way along the Los Angeles River and require the taking of fewer than ten residences.
*During the 1980s, Caltrans proposed extending the Orange Freeway (SR 57) from its terminus at the "Orange Crush" interchange to the San Diego Freeway (I-405) by means of an elevated alignment along the bed of the Santa Ana River. Pressure from environmental groups led Caltrans and the Orange County Transportation Authority to abandon the plan.Fact|date=February 2007

Orange County

In Southern California, a number of environmental organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation and others, along with the California State Parks Foundation, banded together to stop a planned extension to the SR 241 Foothill South Toll Road. The groups contend that the project threatens the fragile San Mateo Creek Watershed and the would result in the loss of a significant portion of the popular San Onofre State Beach Park. In 2006, the coalition filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Corridors Agency - the agency responsible for the project - stating that deficiencies in the project's environmental impact report violated the California Environmental Quality Act. The groups were joined in the lawsuit by the California State Attorney General's Office.

an Diego

State Route 252 was intended to connect Interstate 5 to Interstate 805. Ramps were constructed on I-805 at 43rd Street before the project was canceled in 1994 due to neighborhood opposition. The new freeway would have cut right through the heart of Barrio Logan. Much of the land intended for freeway construction is still unoccupied. The interchange ramps from I-805 now end in a shopping mall parking lot.


There was opposition to a planned beltway around Denver, which was to be signed as Interstate 470. Eventually, a compromise was reached, and the beltway was built, using three different designations: Colorado State Highway 470, E-470 and the Northwest Parkway. Currently, a gap remains in the beltway, as it stops short of reaching the Denver suburbs of Broomfield and Golden, where fierce opposition to the road continues.



In 1973 environmentalists filed lawsuits that effectively killed construction of the planned Interstate 291 beltway west of Interstate 91, the proposed Interstate 484 expressway through the downtown, and the proposed Interstate 284 expressway between East Hartford and South Windsor. (In 1992 the Route 9 Expressway was extended north from I-91 in New Britain to Interstate 84 in Farmington, completing what would have been the southwest quadrant of the I-291 beltway.

Eastern Connecticut

Interstate 84 was originally planned to continue on an easterly course to Providence, Rhode Island, closely following US 6 through Tolland and Windham Counties. Environmental concerns and Connecticut and Rhode Island led to the cancellation of this extension, and I-84 was shifted to the existing Wilbur Cross Highway (which had been designated I-86; this number has since reappeared on a partially-completed expressway in northern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York) between Hartford and Sturbridge, Massachusetts in 1983. The already-completed portions of this extension was redesignated as Interstate 384 and US-6 Windham Bypass. CONNDOT and the FHWA intended to construct the US-6 Freeway through Andover, Bolton, and Coventry to link I-384 and the Windham Bypass. After 40 years since it was first planned, CONNDOT, the FHWA, and local officials remained deadlocked with the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers over the routing of the US-6 Freeway. Since the agencies involved could not come to an agreement, CONNDOT abandoned plans the US-6 Freeway in 2005.

Fairfield County

Local opposition, particularly in the town of Wilton, convinced a federal judge to halt construction of the U.S. Route 7 Expressway between Norwalk and Danbury in 1972. State and federal highway officials subsequently prepared an environmental impact statement for the expressway, and a Federal judge allowed construction to resume in 1983. By then however, the cost of construction had skyrocketed and there were no longer any funds available to complete the expressway, as all highway funds were diverted into a massive statewide highway repair program in the wake of the Mianus River Bridge collapse months earlier. The proposal remained on the books until the CONNDOT canceled expressway plans in 1999 in lieu of widening the existing Route 7 to 4 lanes, citing a lack of funding and no feasible route that would avoid the environmentally-sensitive Norwalk River basin. Some in Connecticut have been seeking to revive the expressway proposal, including those who originally opposed it, citing the rapidly increasing volume of traffic and the number of fatal accidents on the existing Route 7 over the past 20 years. Further north on US-7 however, officials in Brookfield have long pushed CONNDOT to construct a new US-7 freeway to the west of Brookfield. After decades of environmental studies and intense debate, construction on the Brookfield Bypass began in 2007 and is expected to open in 2009.


Local opposition was responsible for the death knell of a number of freeway projects in Metro Atlanta, including the intown portion of the Stone Mountain Freeway from the existing U.S. 78 freeway to what is now Freedom Parkway in downtown Atlanta, and the intown portion of what would have been Interstate 485. The northern part of that freeway was built as Georgia 400, while the southern portion of the highway exists as Interstate 675. The highways would have intersected in a large stack interchange complex roughly where the Carter Center exists today, east of downtown Atlanta. Interstate 420 would have skirted the city limits of Atlanta to the south, running from Interstate 20 in Decatur to Douglasville. The center portion of what would have become I-420 was constructed, and exists as Langford Parkway.

Additional local protests and legislative action ended planning and construction of the Outer Perimeter and the Northern Arc, which would have surrounded Atlanta about 20 miles (32 km) outside of the present Perimeter Highway.


*Since the 1970s, the Illinois Department of Transportation has sought to extend the freeway ("expressway") portion of Illinois Route 53 in Chicago from its northern terminus at Lake-Cook Road, perhaps meeting the Tri-State Tollway (I-94) somewhere in northern Lake County. The most likely alignment for the route would take it through the village of Long Grove, the residents of which have fought a thus-far successful legal and political battle against the extension. Many residents of cities such as Mundelein and Lake Zurich still display "BUILD 53" signs and bumper stickers.

*The Crosstown Expressway was a proposed highway in the 1970s that would have run westward from near the present confluence of the Chicago Skyway and the Dan Ryan Expressway on Chicago's south side toward Cicero Avenue near Chicago Midway International Airport. From there, the freeway would have run northward along and parallel to Cicero to the Edens - Kennedy junction on the north side of Chicago. The highway, which would have been designated Interstate 494, was canceled in 1979 by then-Mayor Jane Byrne and then-Illinois Governor Jim Thompson, both of whom cited the $1.2 billion price tag as reason enough to terminate the project. Monies from the aborted highway ultimately went to the construction of the Chicago Transit Authority's Orange Line, connecting the Loop with Midway Airport, and an extension to the CTA's Blue Line, connecting downtown with O'Hare Airport. This project, though, was resurrected in 2007, nearly three decades after it had been canceled.

*The Elgin-O'Hare Expressway was intended to connect Elgin, Illinois and O'Hare International Airport through the west side of the airport. However, the expressway remains incomplete on both sides. The current western terminus is at Lake Street (U.S. Route 20) in Hanover Park, Illinois, and the current eastern terminus is at Rohlwing Road (near I-290). A western connection to the nearby Elgin Bypass (U.S. Route 20) may be possible in the future, but Elk Grove Village, Illinois has fought a successful fight against extending the eastern terminus. Although the expressway today effectively links Hanover Park with I-290, the road is still called the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway, to much ridicule by the locals.

*The Amstutz Expressway was meant to be a lakeshore expressway in North Chicago, Illinois and Waukegan, Illinois. However, a large portion in northern North Chicago was never completed, so the road exists in two small portions. The Waukegan portion is frequently referred to as "The Highway to Nowhere" because of its uselessness. Sheridan Road runs along the expressway the entire length.

*There were plans to upgrade Lake Shore Drive to full Interstate standards, and two separate designations were proposed for this upgrade. First designated as Interstate 494 (before that designation was moved to the Crosstown Expressway), and later, Interstate 694, the project was canceled after opposition from North Side residents who didn't want an interstate in their communities, fearing that land along the shores of Lake Michigan would be lost. As of 2007, Lake Shore Drive remains a substandard expressway with a mix of interchanges and at-grade intersections.


When I-10 was built through New Orleans, Louisiana, a segment of formerly tree-lined ground along Claiborne Avenue was destroyed to build the elevated highway. While local efforts to stop this route of I-10 were unsuccessful, the disruption motivated residents to oppose further planned freeways through historic neighborhoods.

The proposed Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway would have run along the Mississippi River in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Local preservationists worked to build popular support to stop the proposed elevated expressway in the 1960s. [Weingroff, Richard F. [ "The Second Battle of New Orleans: Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway (I-310)"] , Federal Highway Administration. Accessed May 31, 2007.]


Freeways Interstate 95, Interstate 83, and Interstate 70 are not directly connected to each other inside Baltimore city limits because of freeway revolts led by activist and later politician Barbara Mikulski. Mikulski became a U.S. Representative and later a Senator after rising to prominence with freeway revolts. In particular, I-70 was stopped through Leakin Park, and terminates at the Baltimore City line, just inside the I-695 Beltway, rather than connecting to I-95, while I-83 terminates on city streets in Baltimore instead of connecting to I-95. Additional roads that would have formed a more complete freeway network in the city were abandoned or redesigned, leaving some short sections (the former I-170, left unconnected to any other Interstate highway, so U.S. Route 40 was re-routed onto it), or rights of way that were built as city streets rather than freeways (Martin Luther King Boulevard). The Windlass Freeway was canceled as well, although a small portion of it was constructed, and it is now signed as I-695.


In 1970, Governor Francis W. Sargent ordered the Boston Transportation Planning Review, a review of all freeway plans within the Route 128 beltway around Boston. As a result, several freeways were canceled in 1971 and 1972:

* The Southwest Expressway (Interstate 95) to Canton was replaced by the MBTA Orange Line. I-95 was rerouted to follow Route 128 around Boston.
* The Northeast Expressway (also I-95) to Peabody was largely eliminated. The southernmost part, which was already built, is U.S. Route 1.
* The Inner Belt (Interstate 695 and 95) around Boston was eliminated. A short section (which would have been the I-95 part of the Inner Belt) was built as a city street.
* The Northwest Expressway (Route 2 and U.S. Route 3) to Burlington was replaced by the MBTA Red Line extension to Alewife. Routes 2 and 3 were left on their old street-level routes.

One notable highway project was not canceled:
* The Central Artery cut a swath through Downtown Boston neighborhoods, creating one of the greatest eyesores in urban America during the 1950s. Starting in 1991, the Central Artery was rerouted into underground tunnels and the elevated eyesore was demolished and replaced by parks and new buildings during a massive project known as the Big Dig.



In the 1970s, an extension of the Davison Freeway in Detroit was planned on both ends, to connect Interstate 96, the Jeffries Freeway, to Interstate 696, the Reuther Freeway, by way of a freeway aligned along Mound Road. A freeway-to-freeway interchange was constructed at Exit 186 of the Jeffries, and a massive stacked freeway-to-freeway interchange was also constructed on I-696 at Mound Road. However, while the Jeffries was still being constructed, the City of Detroit passed a decree that no further freeways would be constructed. There was a strong desire to preserve the existing neighborhoods, which was a factor in rerouting the planned Jeffries Freeway, even though the neighborhoods themselves were suffering from urban blight. The massive Davison Avenue exit of the Jeffries, as a result, sees much less traffic than it was designed for, as does the Mound Road exit on I-696.

The cancellation also scrubbed plans to connect the Mound Road interchange to the existing M-53 expressway, although further development of Macomb County has revived speculation on at least this portion of highway. The land impact would be minimalized along the Mound Road corridor, as Mound was constructed as a multilane divided highway with a particularly wide median, suggesting that MDOT planned for this stretch to be upgraded to a full freeway at some point in the future.

Oakland County

In the 1970s, Interstate 275 was planned to bypass Detroit and Pontiac, connecting with its parent route, Interstate 75, near the city of Monroe at the southern end, and Clarkston at the northern end. I-275 was slightly realigned when it was determined that it would be more feasible to align Interstate 96 along Schoolcraft Avenue instead of the more heavily developed Grand River Avenue as originally planned, and part of I-275 would now carry I-96.

As construction progressed on the massive ramps that would connect I-275 to the existing interchange of I-96 and the western terminus of I-696, fierce opposition rose up from residents within several Oakland County communities, including Commerce Township, through where much of I-275 would have run. Environmental concerns were cited, as well as fears of dropping property values. As a result, the construction of I-275 north of I-96/I-696 was canceled. A stub from the former eastern leg of I-96, redesignated part of M-102, to what would have been northbound I-275, was left behind, as was a ramp that ran parallel to the westbound I-96 ramp that would've carried northbound I-275 and connected with the ramp from M-102.

The stubs, as well as previously unbuilt bridges and ramps, were opened in 1994 as a freeway extension was built up to 12 Mile Road. This extension was designated as M-5. Between 1994 and 2002, M-5 was extended further northward along the right-of-way that had been reserved for I-275, but as a grade-level expressway with traffic lights at 13 Mile, 14 Mile, and Maple Roads, and a grade-level railroad crossing between Maple Road and M-5's northern terminus at Pontiac Trail. Local residents continue to resist further expansion, even as Commerce Township slowly succumbs to urban sprawl.

In addition to the resistance against I-275, a planned extension from Northwestern Highway to I-275 was shelved in the 1970s as part of the same revolt. Although talks of reviving the Northwestern Extension continued for decades, development of the land along the proposed extension's right-of-way, including a strip mall right at Northwestern's current terminus, has effectively ended any chance of such a freeway being constructed.


There were once plans for a northern bypass route of downtown Minneapolis; this bypass was to be signed as Interstate 335. Grading for I-335's connections to I-35W and I-94, as well as land acquisition and demolition for the road's right-of-way, had already begun when local residents protested I-335's proposed path through their communities. Stub ramps on I-35W, some of which are now part of the Johnson Street interchange, remain as clues to where I-335 would have begun; more stub ramps can also be found on I-94 at the North 3rd Street interchange.

New Jersey

Although planned in the 1960s, the Somerset Freeway, which would have connected Interstate 95 from Trenton to Interstate 287 near Metuchen, would have cut through some of the wealthy established properties around Princeton. In addition, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, whose roadway went from the Delaware Memorial Bridge to New York City, feared that the paralleling Somerset Freeway, which had no toll, would have caused the NJTPA to lose revenue south of the I-287 interchange.

In 1982, an act of Congress allowed the Somerset Freeway to be dropped, but stipulated that I-95 would be rerouted, via the Pennsylvania Turnpike into New Jersey. This I-95/PA Turnpike interchange, which was never built in the beginning, will be constructed starting in 2006-07, with completion by 2010. When completed, the new interchange will make I-95 a continuous route between Philadelphia and New York City.

Another, but similar plan involving Interstate 78 would have bisected the town of Phillipsburg, but NJDOT and PennDOT, under opposition from local residents, decided to reroute I-78 south of the Lehigh Valley area, on what would have been the planned I-278 bypass. This led to the downgrade of I-378 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania from an Interstate highway to a PA State highway route.

New York

New York City

Several expressways in the New York City, mostly planned by Robert Moses, were canceled because of public oppositions, including two that would have been built through Midtown and Lower Manhattan.

The Lower Manhattan Expressway was planned to carry Interstate 78 from its current terminus at the end of the Holland Tunnel through Lower Manhattan to the Williamsburg Bridge with a connection to the Manhattan Bridge at Canal St. The Expressway would have been built directly through such neighborhoods as Greenwich Village, SoHo, and the Lower East Side, much of which was rundown by the mid 20th century. After a long battle, the expressway was canceled in the 1970s by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller due to fears of increased pollution and negative effects on such cultural neighborhoods as Little Italy and Chinatown.

The Mid-Manhattan Expressway was another freeway planned to be built directly through the busy Midtown Manhattan business district just south of 34th Street and would pass very close to the Empire State Building. The Expressway was to carry Interstate 495 from the Lincoln Tunnel (where I-495 was to continue to the New Jersey Turnpike) to the Queens Midtown Tunnel where it would connect to the Long Island Expressway. The expressway was originally very popular among local leaders, and Moses had gone so far as to run the Expressway right through Manhattan skyscrapers. However, fears of increased vehicular traffic in the already congested city brought the expressway down and it was canceled in 1971.

Other expressways in the outer boroughs had been planned, but later canceled, including the Bushwick Expressway, an extension of Interstate 78 through Brooklyn and Queens that would run from the Williamsburg Bridge (at the end of the Lower Manhattan Expressway) to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Also, the Cross Brooklyn Expressway, a faster commercial route paralleling the Belt Parkway from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The former was canceled largely due to the cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway. For this reason, none of I-78's spur routes actually connect to I-78; the closest connection would have been made by Interstate 478 via the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

Other expressway cancellations included the Queens-Interboro Expressway, which would have connected the Queens Midtown Tunnel with southern neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens and the Cross Harlem Expressway, which would have run in the vicinity of 125th Street in Harlem from the Triborough Bridge to the Hudson River (plans also included building a bridge at 125th Street to New Jersey over the Hudson).

Some of New York City's expressways were left unfinished due to local opposition. In Queens, the Clearview Expressway abruptly ends in the neighborhood of Hollis. It was slated to continue south to John F. Kennedy International Airport, but was canceled. The proposed segment near JFK Airport was built as the JFK Expressway between 1989 and 1992. [ [ JFK Expressway @] ] In The Bronx, the Sheridan Expressway was to run from the Bruckner Expressway in the South Bronx to the Westchester County Line where it would meet with the New England Thruway, running along what is now Boston Post Road (US-1). However, this extension was canceled and today the Sheridan Expressway runs a very short route from the Bruckner Expressway to the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Much of the reason for the cancellations was due to local groups protesting the construction of these expressways through their neighborhoods, and the seen negative effects in local communities caused by the building of such expressways as the Cross Bronx Expressway, which is largely credited for the destruction and dereliction of the Tremont neighborhood, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Long Island

New York City was not the only part of New York to face an onslaught of freeway revolts. Long Island, which was almost as heavily populated as New York City, had dozens of roads planned by the New York State Department of Transportation, as well as Suffolk and Nassau Counties. On two occasions, Suffolk County built roads and allowed them to be redesignated as state highways, in the hope that the state would upgrade them when the county couldn't. The following is a list of roads throughout New York State that were either canceled, truncated, or stalled.

* A.O. Smith Turnpike.
* Atlantic Expressway-Sunrise Highway.
* Babylon-Northport Expressway.
* Bethpage State and Caumsett State Parkways.
* Broad Hollow Expressway.
* Cross River Drive Extension.
* Cedar Swamp Road.
* Long Island Expressway Extension.
* Long Lane.
* Nassau Expressway.
* Nicoll's Road.
* Northern State Parkway Extension.
* Nesconset-Port Jefferson Highway-North Shore Expressway.
* Ocean Parkway Extension.
* Patchogue-Mount Sinai Road Extension.
* Ponquogue Causeway.
* Port Jefferson-Westhampton Beach Highway.
* Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway.
* Sound Shore Parkway.
* Southern State Parkway Extension.
* Straight Path Extension.
* Veterans Memorial Highway Extension.
* Wantagh State Parkway Extension.
* West Babylon-Centerport Highway.
* Western Nassau Expressway.
* William Floyd Parkway.

Hudson Valley

*Bear Mountain Parkway
*Blue Mountain Parkway
*Briarcliff-Peekskill Parkway
*Catskill Expressway
*Central Corridor Expressway (included the Bronx-White Plains and White Plains-Mahopac Expressways)
*Cross County Parkway Extensions
*Garden State Parkway Extension
*Hudson River Expressway
*New Jersey Turnpike -- Northern Extension
*Northern Westchester Expressway
*Orange Expressway
*Ossining-South Salem Expressway
*Pearl River-Haverstraw Expressway
*Peekskill-Brewster Expressway
*Pelham-Port Chester Parkway
*Phelps Way
*Pound Ridge-Stamford Expressway
*Spring Valley Bypass
*A major 4-lane straightening and expansion of the Hutchinson River Parkway in Eastchester through a park was put on indefinite hold after outcry from local residents in 1978 and 1979.

Capital District

*Mid-Crosstown Arterial (US 9-9W)
*Northern Albany Expressway
*Southern Albany Expressway: A free connection between the Adirondack Northway and the Riverfront Route running parallel to the New York State Thruway.
*Taconic State Parkway Extension
*Slingerlands Bypass.
*Interstate 88 Extension.

Buffalo-Niagara Falls

Buffalo-Niagara Falls was also not immune to freeway revolts. An extensive system of highways and parkways were planned to be built in the counties of Niagara and Erie.
*Lake Ontario State Parkway Extension
*Robert Moses State Parkway Extension
*LaSalle Expressway This expressway was to be the beginning of the proposed Buffalo Beltway, which was never built except for the LaSalle and the short Milestrip Expressway (New York State Route 179) in Blasdell, New York.
*Interstate 990 was originally to extend all the way to Lockport, New York and eventually to Rochester, New York; instead, it terminates at New York State Route 263. Also, the expressway was planned to cross the east side of Buffalo, in a portion to be called the Crosstown Expressway; it would have terminated at the Niagara section Interstate 190 near the northern sections of South Buffalo.
*New York State Route 5 (Southshore Expressway) expressway section to New York State Route 75.
*New York State Route 33 (Kensington Expressway) extension to the Outer Beltway. Also West Side Arterial to Interstate 190 in Downtown Buffalo.
*New York State Route 400 Extension from New York State Route 16 To Erie County Line and possibly to Olean, New York.
*Gowanda Expressway Angola, New York to Gowanda, New York.
*North Park Expressway From Interstate 190 to New York State Route 33 in North Buffalo.
*East Side Arterial New York State Route 33 to Interstate 90 New York State Thruway.
*Lancaster Expressway Interstate 90 to US Route 20.
*River Road Expressway Buffalo Beltway in Niagara Falls to South Grand Island Bridges.
*Tonawnada Expressway (Todays Twin Cities Memorial Highway New York State Route 425) Creating a freeway instead of an arterial from Interstate 290 to the Buffalo Beltway.
*Tuscarora Expressway An outer Beltway for the City of Niagara Falls from Tonawanda Expressway to Robert Moses State Parkway.
*Inner Belt Parkway
*Outer Belt Parkway

Other Regions

*Watertown-Champlain Expressway


In 1964 and 1965, the State of Ohio proposed three freeways that would dissect Cleveland’s eastern suburbs and parkland including Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and East Cleveland. The Clark Freeway was to connect I-271 with downtown Cleveland via Shaker Blvd, the Shaker Lakes, North Park Blvd and East Cleveland. The Lee Freeway was to run north from an interchange with the Clark Highway at Shaker Lakes over Lee Rd to a third highway that would run east-west approximately where Monticello Blvd and Wilson Mills Rd are today. Local residents blocked all three highways. One of several key actions was the 1966 formation of the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes.

Cincinnati also had a freeway revolt: the Colerain, Queen City and Taft Expressways were never built (though a particularly congested segment of Queen City Avenue was eventually bypassed in 2005) and the Red Bank Expressway, designed as a freeway connection between Interstate 71 and U.S. Route 50, was built instead as a surface artery, albeit with limited intersections. There are prominent ramp stubs at the interchange of Interstate 74 and Beekman Street that would have connected I-74 to the Colerain Expressway.

In addition, the Cross County Highway, which was designed to connect the eastern and western sides of I-275 through Hamilton County, was built, but never fully completed. For years, the highway existed in two separate segments; the eastern segment was built between Galbraith Road and Montgomery Road (just east of I-71) in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the mid-1970s, the western stretch was built from Colerain Avenue (U.S. Route 27) to the western side of I-275. While these segments were finally connected in 1997, and the highway was renamed the Ronald Reagan Highway, the three-mile stretch between Montgomery Rd. and the eastern side of I-275 was never built due to protests from wealthy residents of The Village of Indian Hill, who convinced officials to stop the highway's construction from occurring in the city. This resulted in the lack of a direct freeway connection between existing Interstate 74 and its proposed extension along Ohio State Route 32 to the east toward the Carolinas.



Shortly after World War II, the city leaders of Portland, Oregon commissioned famed transportation planner Robert Moses to design a freeway network for the city. Moses produced a proposal which called for numerous freeways to crisscross the city; of this proposal six freeway routes made it to the planning stage. Four of the six were eventually constructed (in some cases in the face of intense opposition); these are:

* The "Banfield Freeway" (Interstate 84)
* The "Baldock Freeway" (Interstate 5)
* The "Stadium Freeway" (Interstate 405)
* The "East Portland Freeway" (Interstate 205)

However, two other planned freeways—the Interstate 505 freeway, and the Mount Hood Freeway, were far more controversial. Each proposed route cut through established city neighborhoods. An intense battle arose over the Mount Hood Freeway, a proposed routing of U.S. Highway 26 and Interstate 84 (then 80N) that stretched from the Marquam Bridge out to the city of Sandy at the base of Mount Hood. One section of the freeway—an expressway stretch between Sandy and Gresham with an uncompleted interchange—was built; but the remainder was controversial.

The 1972 mayoral race, with Neil Goldschmidt representing the anti-freeway side and Frank Ivancie representing the supporters of the freeway, became a de-facto referendum on the proposed route. The election was won by Goldschmidt and the freeway was canceled. The proposed federal funds for the project were instead made available for a planned light rail line, built in the 1980s to connect Portland with Gresham and now part of the MAX Blue Line. This light-rail network is steadily expanding, including sections along Interstate 205 in room that resulted from the controversy.

Soon after, the Interstate 505 proposal was also canceled; a shorter freeway "stub" was built instead, and U.S. Highway 30 was routed on a new alignment through an industrial area (and away from the residential neighborhood that its prior alignment—and the I-505 proposal—ran through).

In addition to the cancellation of three proposed freeway routes, Portland saw another milestone in the freeway revolts: the destruction of an already-existing freeway. The first freeway to be built through the city—Harbor Drive (along the western shore of the Willamette River), which was, at the time, the route of Oregon Route 99W—was demolished and replaced with Tom McCall Waterfront Park. 99W was moved onto nearby Front Avenue (the stretch of 99W through Portland would be later decommissioned), and little evidence remains that there was once a freeway along the waterfront. (It should be noted that the removal of Harbor Drive wasn't all that controversial; the recent construction of I-5 on the river's East Bank, and I-405 through the downtown core, had made Harbor Drive no longer necessary.)

Elsewhere in Oregon

Other Oregon freeway revolts occurred in Salem and Eugene. In Salem, the Interstate 305 project was shelved and replaced with the Salem Parkway, a highway along the same alignment but with at-grade intersections. In Eugene, the Roosevelt Freeway and West Eugene Parkway projects were canceled [ [ Northwest Region- Region 2 West Eugene Parkway Project ] ] , and the Belt Line Road was severely curtailed; only the northwestern segment of the proposed beltway was ever built.


There were plans for the Cobbs Creek Expressway, which would've started at Interstate 95 and run up the western edge of Philadelphia, along with the Crosstown Expressway, which would have connected back to I-95 near downtown. Both freeways were part of a planned routing of Interstate 695. Because of community opposition, neither freeway was constructed. (Additionally, the position of the Crosstown Expressway portion of I-695 between the Schuylkill and Vine Street Expressways would be considered redundant, particularly because of its close proximity to the Vine Street Expressway.) Also, the Roosevelt Expressway was planned to extend from the Schuylkill Expressway to Northeast Philadelphia (only a small portion of this freeway was actually built; the rest is an at-grade boulevard), and an Interstate 895 was planned to connect the Philadelphia suburbs of Bristol, Pennsylvania and Burlington, New Jersey.

A freeway revolt also occurred in Pittsburgh, where stub ramps near the Birmingham Bridge exist from the cancellation of the unbuilt Oakland Crosstown Freeway. Other canceled freeways include the South Hills Expressway, Pittsburgh-McKeesport Expressway, and the East Liberty Expressway.

A section of Pennsylvania Route 23 was once planned for an expressway upgrade, and construction actually started on the expressway, but lack of funding at the state level halted construction. The grading and several overpasses for the expressway still exist, but as a mostly-unpaved section that has since gained popularity as the "Goat Path Expressway". [ [ PA 23: The Goat Path (The Proposed Lancaster-Norristown Expressway)] ] As of|2008, the route is still under consideration by PennDOT, and appears in the Commonwealth 12-Year Transportation Plan. [ [ PA 23 EIS (PennDOT] ]


Interstate 40 was planned to go through Memphis's Overton Park but public opposition, combined with a court victory by opponents, forced abandonment of the plans. The eastern portion of the road had already been built inside the Interstate 240 loop and this non-interstate highway is now named Sam Cooper Boulevard while the northern portion of the I-240 loop was redesignated as I-40.


The R.H. Thomson Expressway, connecting Interstate 90 to State Route 520 through the Central District, Madison Valley, and Washington Park Arboretum, and the Bay Freeway, connecting Interstate 5 to State Route 99 in South Lake Union near Seattle Center, faced mounting protests beginning in 1969. The death of these two highways is generally considered to be the 1972 referendum that withdrew their funding. [ HistoryLink Essay 3114]

Washington, DC

Plans to build Interstate 270 (Maryland), Interstate 95, and Interstate 66, as well as a proposed Interstate 266 over a new Three Sisters Bridge through Washington, DC and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs were canceled due to public opposition. This is why Interstate 395 ends at New York Avenue and Interstate 95 goes around the Capital Beltway rather than cutting through the city.

Funds for several of these projects were redirected to the Washington Metro.


In Milwaukee, several planned freeways were either never built, partially built, or partially built but subsequently demolished and replaced with an at-grade boulevard.

* The Lake Freeway was designed to be the eastern leg of an inner loop around downtown Milwaukee, to extend along the lakefront south from the Park Freeway to Bay View and southeastern Milwaukee and thence through the southeastern suburbs, with a proposed extension to run much further south, through central Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin, continuing further south through Chicago's northeastern lakefront suburbs, where a portion of the proposed freeway was actually constructed and is, today, the Interstate-standard section of Lake Shore Drive. Besides Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, the only portion of this system that is completed to Interstate standards is a 2-mile portion of Interstate 794, although a portion of the route south of the official southern terminus of Interstate 794 continues as 4-lane divided controlled-access freeway, as Highway 794, or the Lake Parkway.

* The northern end of the Lake Freeway turned westward, and this section became known as the Park Freeway. This was the northern leg of the inner loop. The eastern section was known as the Park East Freeway and the western section as the Park West Freeway, with the dividing point at the intersection with I-43. The Park West Freeway was intended to run northwesterly along Fond du Lac Avenue, and then turn westward just north of North Avenue. A major intersection with the Stadium Freeway was planned for the area around 45th and North Avenue. The right-of-way for the entire corridor was cleared. Due to neighborhood opposition, the only section of this freeway completed was from Milwaukee Street to Walnut Street. The above-grade section between Milwaukee Street and 6th Street was removed and replaced by an at-grade boulevard - McKinley Boulevard. Part of this corridor remains vacant, but most of the corridor has been developed or has development plans in place.

* The Stadium Freeway was partially completed. The original plan was for its south end to be at I-894/I-43 near Loomis Road. From that point it would extend northward, intersecting I-94 at the Stadium Interchange and proceeding northward to its intersection with the Park Freeway. From there it would jog northwesterly until heading north, parallelling 60th Street and continuing north to Port Washington where it met with I-43. The only section built was that between National Avenue and Lisbon Avenue, today's US 41.

* Another planned freeway was the Bay Freeway. This was to be the northern bypass around the central city, complementing I-894 which is the built southern bypass. The Bay Freeway eastern point was I-43 at Hampton Road. The freeway was to run over Hampton Road, westward to the intersection with the Stadium Freeway and the Fond du Lac Freeway. From there it continued westward to Pewaukee where it would meet with Wisconsin Highway 16. No section of the Bay Freeway was ever built.

* The Belt Freeway was to be a freeway encircling the metro Milwaukee area on the south, west and north sides. No section of the Belt Freeway was ever built.



* [ "Stop the Road: Freeway Revolts in American Cities", Raymond A. Mohl "Journal of Urban History".2004; 30: 674-706]
* [ "EPA's highway to traffic hell?" Taxes Fund Groups Trying To Halt Road Projects, by Daniel J. Murphy (] Originally published in Investor's Business Daily; April 5, 1999.


* [ The Clark, Lee and Heights Freeways]
* [ Cleveland Heights: The Making of an Urban Suburb] , by Marian J. Morton, Arcadia Publishing, 2002. (Describes the history of the Clark and Lee Freeway projects and their defeat.)


* [ Milwaukee's Freeways]


* [ Ga. Highway 414/Interstate 420]

New Jersey

* [ Unbuilt Roads of New Jersey @]

New York

* [ Unbuilt Roads in New York City] (
* [ Unbuilt Roads on Long Island] (
* [ Unbuilt Roads in the Hudson Valley] (


* [ The Mount Hood Freeway]
* [ "Oregon Highways: US Highway 26"]
* [ "Willamette Week": "Highway to Hell"]
* [ Interview with David Hupp] (an advisor to the Multnomah County commission who was instrumental in cancelling the Mount Hood Freeway).
*cite web
title=Interstate 50th Anniversary: The story of Oregon's Interstates
author=George Kramer
publisher=Oregon Department of Transportation


* [ Unbuilt Roads of Pennsylvania] (
*Pennsylvania Highways
** [ Pennsylvania's Decommissioned Interstates]
** [ Yellow Book Interstate Proposals]

an Francisco

* [ The Freeway Revolt, from]
* [ The Great Freeway Revolt, from the San Francisco Bay Guardian]
* [ Freeway Revolt from]
* [ San Francisco CITYSCAPE]
* [ The History of San Francisco Bay Area Freeway Development] (California


* [ Route 7 Coalition]
* [ Committee to Extend Route 7]
* [ Unbuilt Roads in Connecticut @]


* [ Baltimore City Interstates @ Roads to the Future]

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